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Source: Reuters
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  • People under the age of 18 in China will be limited to three hours of online gaming per week under new rules published on Monday
  • The National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) says the measures will protect the health of minors in an ‘era of national rejuvenation’
  • Gaming companies will have to register with the NPPA’s anti-addiction
    real-name verification system
  • Shares in gaming companies around the world – such as Tencent, Ubisoft and Embracer Group – retreated on the news

Minors in China will face tighter controls on when and for how long they can play games online. 

There were already some limits in place which allowed for minors to game for up to 1.5 hours on any day of the week or three hours per day on a holiday. This limit has now been cut to a maximum of three hours per week. 

The National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) issued a statement that said indulgence in online games had become a prominent problem, and the new restrictions would protect minors in an ‘era of national rejuvenation’. 

“In order to further tighten management measures, resolutely prevent minors from indulging in online games, and effectively protect the physical and mental health of minors, the relevant requirements are hereby notified,” the statement said.

Under the new measures, all online games must be connected to the NPPA’s anti-addiction real-name verification system. This will allow children to play online games for one hour on Fridays, weekends and holidays between 8 pm and 9 pm.

Stocks in gaming companies slide

Following the announcement, shares in gaming companies around the world went backwards. 

In Europe, Ubisoft’s Euronext Paris listing fell 1.2 per cent, and Embracer Group’s Stockholm Stock Exchange-listed shares retreated nearly 1.5 per cent on Monday. 

In the US Tencent fell 1.1 per cent and NetEase lost 3.4 per cent in Monday’s session. 

Just two weeks ago, both Tencent and Netease sank after China’s market regulator released draft rules aimed at countering unfair competition and limiting the use of user data. 

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